Workers CompensationWhen and How to File a Workers’ Compensation Report

July 16, 2022by Aaron Allison

Nonfatal occupational accidents and injuries affect more than 178,000 Texas workers every year. If you or a loved one have been injured at work, you may have a lot of questions about reporting to workers’ compensation. Should you fill out a workers’ compensation report for minor incidents? How do you file a workers’ compensation notice? Are there workers’ comp reporting time limits? Here, we’ll answer all your questions about how and when to report a work-related injury.

What Types of Incidents Should be Reported to Workers’ Comp?

Most people know that any serious injury that requires hospitalization or time away from work should be reported as soon as possible after any emergency medical care is provided. However, it can be more confusing to understand when to report a work-related injury if the injury is minor.

The rule for filing a workers’ comp notice is that all injuries should be reported if they require more treatment than on-site first aid, or if they incur any expense. For example, you should always report any work-related illness or injury that:

  • Requires a visit to a doctor or hospital
  • Requires any payment for treatment, like a medical copay or the purchase of special equipment like a brace
  • Causes you to miss any time at work, including work time on the day of injury
  • Affects your workplace capabilities or performance

In many cases, a worker may sustain a seemingly minor injury, like twisting their ankle, and not know immediately how seriously they are impaired. Back and muscle strains and sprains may take time before the extent of the damage becomes obvious. Always verbally report these types of incidents to your supervisor immediately.

“Near Miss” Incidents

There is also the possibility of a workplace accident or incident where the employee was not harmed or injured but was at serious risk of injury. For example, if an object fell from a scaffolding and missed a worker by a few inches, or a machine malfunctioned but only caused a small scrape. OSHA calls these “near miss” incidents and strongly encourages employers to investigate them as if they were accidents.

If you had a near-miss incident, report it in writing to your supervisor or safety manager. If you feel that your work site is unsafe, or that your incident is not being taken seriously, consider filing a health and safety complaint with OSHA.

How Long Do You Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Report?

If you have been injured at work in Texas, there are time limits for your workers’ comp report. Here are the guidelines for workers’ comp reporting time in Texas:

  • 30 days. You have 30 days from the date of your injury to report the injury to your employer. If possible, report the injury immediately, so that your supervisor can complete their own report, and potentially address any worksite safety issues more quickly.
  • 1 year. You then have up to 1 year from the date of your injury to file a Texas workers’ compensation notice with the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation.

If you have a work-related injury or illness that isn’t the result of a specific incident with a specific date, like a repetitive motion shoulder injury, or illness due to exposure to hazardous materials, the workers’ comp time limits begin on the date you are made aware of the nature of your impairment. You have 30 days from the date of your diagnosis to notify your employer, and 1 year to notify the Texas Department of Insurance.

If you do not meet these deadlines, your workers’ comp claim may be denied.

Where Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Report?

There are three ways of reporting a work-related injury or incident, and it’s important to do all of them:

  1. Verbally. If you have been injured on the job, always notify your supervisor as soon as possible, when it is safe to do so. You may tell them, call them, or text them. Your supervisor may have their own safety and reporting procedures that they will follow.
  2. In writing. If your workplace has a reporting form, complete the form within 30 days. If they do not provide a form or procedure, write a detailed description of the incident and send it to your employer within 30 days. Keep a copy of this written communication for your records.
  3. Complete a Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation claim. Report your injury using Texas DWC Form-041 within 1 year. You can return the form by fax or mail, and keep a copy for your records. A week or two after sending the form, call the Texas DWC to make sure they have received it.

How Can Aaron Allison Help?

If you have been injured at work in Texas, it is always important to consult with a qualified Texas Workers’ Comp attorney. A workers’ comp lawyer will help to ensure that your rights are protected, and you get fair compensation for everything you deserve, whether you are settling with insurance or taking your case to court.

The law firm of Aaron Allison has been defending the rights of workers in Texas since 1978, and we offer free consultations to help you or a loved one get the most from your workers’ compensation case. Contact us today for more information.

Aaron Allison